Every Friday the Waldorf School of Garden City High School gathers in the student room for the weekly Student Assembly that consists of (1) an extended speech by a senior on a topic of particular interest to them, and (2) the recitation of a poem, (either existing or original) by a junior. The Senior Speeches and Junior Poems are a rite of passage for Waldorf students and are a required part of the high school curriculum.
Friday, March 24 2017
Phoebe Koubel discussed how she embraces her bi-cultural family and how she has grown to appreciate them more deeply over the years. Phoebe’s mother is Japanese and her father is British. Phoebe feels lucky to have traveled to her mother’s hometown of Akabane, Japan five times to spend time with her grandparents. She especially enjoys taking walks with them and hearing stories. One of her fondest experiences from her trips is watching her grandfather wake early to make fresh soba noodles for his restaurant. Her mother would read classic Japanese stories to her and try to teach her the language in her “bell-like” voice.
Each Sunday morning Phoebe’s father makes sure the family has a traditional English breakfast with a pot of tea while they watch soccer. She has learned to enjoy the sarcastic self-deprecating British humor and she gained confidence, learned etiquette and found her voice with the help of her grandmother.
Phoebe is now dedicated to attaining full command over the Japanese language, something that frustrated her when she was younger. She is excited to travel abroad in college and further develop “her own culture” full of family, loyalty, tradition, politeness and respect. She ended with a short slide show of her and her family to the song “Forever Young.”
Peter LePorin then took the podium to discuss his student exchange to Germany. Like most students who study abroad, Peter explained how studying in Germany gave him new perspectives and prepared him for many of life’s challenges. However, he also recounted how some of the unique circumstances of his trip made for very specific obstacles for him to overcome. Peter explained how at the time of his trip, his host family happened to be going through a difficult divorce. Therefore, Peter spent his time living in a household that was dealing with very personal challenges. While this made him uncomfortable at times, Peter explained that he learned how to interact with people in less than ideal situations and push through difficulties. He gained confidence and resilience while working past feelings of awkwardness. Finally, he learned to appreciate the small joys in life, to let go of negative feelings, and to forgive, even when faced with great obstacles. He ended his speech by saying that the experience also helped strengthen his friendship with his host student.
Congratulations to both students on their successful senior speeches.
Two Junior Poems were presented at today’s assembly. To begin, junior Anna Allen recited her original poem entitled “There is a Little Girl” in reaction to the Black Lives Matter movement. Her heartfelt delivery revealed her sadness and frustration with our society and her prayer for healing. Read her full poem here.
With a similar theme, Fiona Somers followed with a powerful recitation of an excerpt from Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ song “White Privilege 2.” Her slam-poetry style delivery was moving and expressed the need for recognition, to resist passivity, take responsibility, and actively show up for black lives.
Thank you for all for your passion and candor!